The much-anticipated Melia hotel opened this year, replacing Chiang Mai’s old Porn Ping Hotel on Charoen Prather Road in the popular Night Bazaar area. For those of us who knew the Porn Ping well, this metamorphosis has been quite remarkable, as the grand old hotel has been injected with an entire body-lift and is now a sparkling, sexy and sophisticated city hotel which is wowing we residents with its exciting dining outlets.
If you haven’t been, make a reservation at Mai Restaurant on the 21st floor – Chiang Mai’s tallest restaurant with a remarkable 360 degree view of the city and mountains beyond. Mai Restaurant boasts a contemporary reimagining of traditional and Lanna culture, from its décor to its cuisine. Floor-to-ceiling glass panes invite diners to gaze at Doi Suthep and the city which sprawls towards it, or down to the meandering Ping River as it flows south and heads down into the plains of central Thailand.
Umbrellas vie with chandeliers, in a nod to the traditions of Bo Sang and other local craftsmanship.
Whether you go for the views – find a spot, order a drink and just indulge – or the food, this is a new dining experience in Chiang Mai that is definitely worth checking out.
The food is also on theme, utilising only the most environmentally responsible and healthy local produce, combined with top quality imports, to reimagine traditional flavours, cooking techniques as well as presentations into delightfully modern reinterpretations.
Start off with the Mai Special, a five-bite tasting sampler which arrives so pretty you will be swiping on your iPhone for a picture. Each bite, whether the crispy and fluffy catfish with pomelo or the grilled green chilli on crispy salmon skin, the the Northern Thai pork sausage, or the Vietnamese pork sausage and edible flower roll is delightful and a perfect amuse bouche for courses to come. The cuisine offers an intriguing taste of Lanna flavours with an infusion of Mediterranean, in a nod to Melia’s Spanish roots.
If you are a fan of noodles and can’t decide between the Lanna favourite, khao soy, or a perfect Mediterranean pasta, the good news is you don’t have to! The pappardelle pasta in dried khao soy sauce is a must. Then there are the rich meat dishes ranging from a nouveau hang-le to baked Thai style beef brisket.
They also have a delightful selection of seafoods such as the piquant baked fillet of Atlantic salmon with nam prik ong or the grilled curry sea-bass fillet in banana leaves.
Every dish is familiar, but every taste is new and exciting.
And we haven’t even waxed culinary about the wine list, cocktail menu or desserts yet. Suffice to say that foodies will find this a worthy destination for any self respecting foodie – or anyone with an appetite at all!
Mai Restaurant, the 21st floor of Melia Chiang Mai
Open: Wednesday – Sunday
6pm. – 10pm.
For more information 052 090 603